Resort Life between the Wars: Part VI, 1939-1940
Palm Beach – Maine – Chestnut Hill – Palm Beach
Click. Snap. Flash. Philadelphian
Ellen Glendinning Frazer was never without her camera. Her family and friends and the places where she lived and traveled became the subjects of her developing photographic craft. And when those friends happened to be the who’s who of High Society and the places were among the world’s most legendary enclaves, she kept her lens focused on a spontaneous close-up view of a social sphere whose lives were most often documented by the oeuvre of the period’s commercial photographers. Ellen Glendinning Frazer, who later married Lucius Pond Ordway, did not live to see herself recognized as a photographer but her photo diary leaves memorable impressions for the incomparable time of her life. The images are a significant archival legacy by someone who appears to have enjoyed documenting the life around her as much as she reveled being a part of it. Here is a glance at “positively the last Payson party” and the end of an era.
Palm Beach 1939
Casa dei Leoni
450 Worth Avenue
The terrace at the Glendinning’s Casa dei Leoni overlooked the Everglades Club basin and golf course. Guests enjoyed “feeding the ducks” as their main pastime.
L to R.: Josephine Laimbeer “Fifi” Fell. In 1931 Fifi married Drexel scion John R. Fell Jr., the son of Mrs. Ogden Livingston Mills and a grand of Anthony J. Drexel.; Bill Stroud and Mary Glendinning Cooke.
L to R.: Clayton McMichael. Kay Denckla.
Marni Harding, Jane Scott, and “Polly.”
Standard Oil trust heir William G. Warden and Mary Glendinning. The Wardens lived in an Addison Mizner-designed house on North Ocean Boulevard that today is composed of condominium residences.
Aunt Lillian Morgan and Mrs. Hare.
Lunch with Ellen and Wolcott Blair
South Ocean Boulevard
Wolcott Blair. The Blairs’ house was designed by Treanor and Fatio.
Ellen Blair, Jane Scott, and Mary Runnels. When the Duke and Duchess of Windsor made their first social sortie to Palm Beach in 1941, Ellen and Wolcott Blair were among the first to entertain them, as Ellen Blair and the Duchess were Oldfields School alumnae.
Ellen Blair, Allie Mackintosh, Crawford Hill, Francis Brooks, and Winnie Seyburn.
Lunch with Mme. Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan and Jacques Balsan
Casa Alva, Hypoluxo Island
Mme. Jacques Balsan, Consuelo Vanderbilt, the former Duchess of Marlborough.
Jacques Balsan and Ruth Wardell.
Stephen Vlasto, a Greek shipping magnate, Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt, and Winthrop Aldrich.
At table (l. to r.): “Mary Marlborough” (born Mary Cadogan, wife of Bertie, 10th Duke of Marlborough, son of Consuelo Vanderbilt), Bob Wilson, Mme. Balsan, “Bertie” Blandford, Mme. Balsan’s son, the Marquess of Blandford and tenth Duke of Marlborough, and Ruth Wardell.
“Bertie” Blandford, at leisure. Bertie was known to his friends as John Albert Edward William Spencer-Churchill, before becoming the tenth Duke of Marlborough.
Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt. Mrs. Vanderbilt was Mme. Balsan’s sister-in-law.
Lunch at Hobe Sound
C. V. “Sonny” and Gwladys Hopkins “Gee” Whitney’s house
Gwladys Hopkins “Gee” Whitney. Following Sonny and Gee’s divorce in 1941, the former Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney married Joe Marvel.
Gee Whitney, Charlie Harding, and Evie Symington. Evie Symington, the former Evelyn Wadsworth who made her nightclub singing debut in 1934.
Evie Symington, “Gee” Whitney, Ellen Glendinning Frazer, and Marni Harding.
18 April 1939
“500 Warships to Gibraltar.”
6 May 1939
Eaglebrook School, Deerfield, Massachusetts
“Rippie” Frazer and Harry Payne Whitney Jr.
Charles and Joan Whitney Payson’s party, Long Island
Harper’s Bazaar, 1939. When Charles and Joan Whitney Paysons’ invitation to their “Come as a song” party read “positively the last Payson party,” Harper’s Bazaar was there to cover it.
Harper’s Bazaar, 1939. Mrs. Glendinning Frazer came as “Night and Day” along with Mrs. Robert Strawbridge Jr. and Mrs. Allan Ryan Jr. Mr. Symington came as “The music goes round and round” and is pictured with Fifi Fell.
Bar Harbor/Northeast Harbor, Maine
Greenlawn, Northeast Harbor. Jay and Mary Glendinning Cooke’s house.
Greenlawn. Northeast Harbor. “The view from my bedroom,” wrote Ellen who stayed with her sister during her summer visit.
Baymeath at Hulls Cove, Bar Harbor. Louise Phelps’ mother’s house, Mrs. Stephen T. (Louise deKoven) Bowen, who was known as Chicago’s “first citizen.” Built at the turn of the century, Mrs. Bowen was among those who financed Jane Addams’s Hull House and was among Chicago’s most generous philanthropists.
Baymeath at Hulls Cove, Bar Harbor. View from the pool and a view of the pool looking down from the house.
Louise Bowen Phelps and her sister Helen Bowen Blair, Mrs. William McCormick Blair, at Baymeath.
The Bar Harbor Swim Club.
Hampton Barnes. Mr. Barnes was Lallie Lloyd’s brother.
Polly Brooks Howe. Within the year, her marriage to Deering Howe would end in divorce.
Deering Howe. Polly and Deering Howe’s Brookville house “Highpool,” where Ellen Frazer stayed during her Long Island getaways, was one of Carrere and Hastings’ last residential commissions.
Mrs. John S. “Mary” Runnels and Chauncey McCormick. Grandson of William S. McCormick, Chauncey was married to Marion Deering whose grandfather had founded what became International Harvester. Her uncle James Deering built Vizcaya.
“Philadelphia’s Women of Note.”
“Rippie” Frazer, Aunt Charlotte, and Bettina Frazer.
Ellen Frazer headed up a fundraiser for Chinese War relief.
Rippie Frazer, “his first tuxedo,” and Perkie Frazer, “his first dress suit.”
Persifor Frazer IV, 18 years old.
Jay Cooke, Ellen Glendinning Frazer’s brother-in-law and head of the Pennsylvania Republican Committee, ran for the US Senate in 1940, hoping to win on Wendell Wilkie’s popularity.
Don Budge and Winston Guest, Everglades Club tennis courts.
Barbara Hutton and Alfred Vanderbilt with unidentified guest (center).
Ellen Glendinning Frazer and Polly take a stroll on Worth Avenue.
Laddie and Mary Sanford at Los Incas, North Ocean Boulevard
Laddie Sanford. Laddie’s father John Sanford bought Los Incas in 1930 from the Anthony Kuser estate, located between the Phipps’ Heamaw and the Stotesbury’s El Mirasol. Originally, the house was built by John S. Phipps for his father-in-law Michael P. Grace at some unknown date between 1914-1917 designed by an unknown architect. In 1918, Dorcas Villa, as it was known, was sold to cold cream tycoon Richard Hudnut. Several years later, Hudnut’s estate sold it to the Kusers who retained Marion Sims Wyeth to remodel the house into a much grander Beaux-Arts style house. Laddie and Mary Sanford moved into Los Incas from Villa Marina after Mr. Sanford died.
L to R.: Mary Sanford.; Mary Sanford with her new puppy.
Everglades Club Golf Tournament
Mixed Two-Ball Foursome
The crowd at the Everglades Club gathers to watch Grace Amory during the February tournament.
L to R.: Gracie Amory and her partner won the medal play with a par 71.; Diana Guest.
Dolly O’Brien, Janet Stewart (wrapped in a head veil), Millicent Hearst, and Diana Guest.
Lunch at Kay Denckla’s, Hobe Sound
Jim and Molly Haines.
Kay Denckla and Lallie Lloyd.
Lunch with Mike (Harold Stirling) and Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt
Eastover, 1100 South Ocean Boulevard, Manalapan
Harold Stirling “Mike” Vanderbilt, a younger brother of Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan.
L to R.: Libby Woodward Pratt and Jack Pratt.; Polly Brooks Howe.
At table Florence Strawbridge, Freddie Allen, Polly Howe, and Bobbie Strawbridge.
Gertrude Legendre, Polly Howe, Bobbie Strawbridge, Gertie Vanderbilt, Jack Pratt, Dorothy Kelleher, Libby Woodward Pratt, and Sidney Legendre.
Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt and Rod Stephens. Inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1993, the same year Gertrude and Mike Vanderbilt were inducted, yacht designer Roderick Stephens Jr. and his brother Olin Stephens II were given a ticker-tape parade down Broadway when they won the famous trans-Atlantic yacht race in 1931.
Laddie and Mary Sanford, Los Incas, North Ocean Boulevard
Laddie Sanford, Mary Sanford, and Mrs. Sidney Jane Scott, when sunbathing was an activity.
“Bathing beauties,” Mary Sanford and Jane Scott.
Mary Sanford and “the most divine puppy.”
Isabel Dodge Sloane, Concha Marina, 102 Jungle Road
Charlie Harding and Crawford Hill.
Charlie Harding and Pop Corey.
Isabel Dodge Sloane.
L to R.: Evie Hill.;Sportsman Chris Dunphy. There appears to be someone behind Dunphy photographing Ellen Frazer photographing Chris Dunphy.
Pop Corey and Evie Spilman. In 1934 Eva Stewart Shaffer married Baldwin Spilman of Warrenton, Virginia. In 1940, Mrs. Stewart Shaffer Spilman married for a third time, Laurens M. Hamilton, a grandson of J. P. Morgan.